Inspectorate hammers final nail in plans for huge Wickes depot near Northampton

Plans for a 50,000 square metre Wickes depot on the edge of Northampton have been turned down.
Plans for a 50,000 square metre Wickes depot on the edge of Northampton have been turned down.

Developers wanting to build a 50,000 square metre distribution depot on the edge of Northampton road - and create 500 jobs - have had their appeal turned down by the Planning Inspectorate.

Travis Perkins plc wanted to build the depot on land called Milton Ham, off the Towcester Road, just off junction 15a of the M1.

But the application was turned down by Northampton Borough Council in July, 2015, after 218 people wrote letters of objection against the scheme and representations were made by the town’s two MPs.

Many people said the large depot would ruin the character of West Hunsbury and increase noise pollution with 442 extra lorry movements going in and out of the site every day.

Travis Perkins appealed the decision and a hearing was held in December, which included a site visit.

But the Planning Inspectorate has now turned down that appeal on the grounds the warehouse would have a significant impact on the surrounding landscape.

A report by inspector Michael Boniface, reads: "The result would be to significantly erode the rural characteristics of the site and its contribution to the green area separating the town from the strategic highway network, as well as the visual connection with the wider countryside beyond the M1."

Travis Perkins had agreed to put on place large landscaping "bunds" to mitigate the height of the planned depot.

But the inspector found the company could not demonstrate the Milton Ham site was the "only location available" to build such a large depot.

Mr Boniface, however, acknowledged the refusal of the scheme would mean some 500 potential jobs would not be coming to Northampton.

He said: "This is a significant benefit in economic terms and I note that locating the appeal proposal away from Northampton would mean that the

benefits of this employment are lost to the town."

But he also suggested Travis Perkins should consider re-siting the development at the DIRFT site near Daventry, which was identified in the Joint Core Strategy as a preffered site for large scale warehouse builds.